US citizens can be out of country indefinitely but must pay taxes

Ask the US Embassy

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

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Q: I am a naturalised US citizen and have dual nationality with Jamaica. How long can I stay in Jamaica?

A: A US citizen, whether naturalised or born in the United States, can stay out of the country indefinitely without having to worry about losing their citizenship. Citizens are still required to file taxes while overseas, however, and for more information on this please go to

Please remember that all US citizens are required to enter the United States on their US passport. You should never depart the United States without a valid US passport. If you are a US citizen, you are not authorised to travel to the United States on your naturalisation certificate and a foreign passport. You are required to enter the United States on a valid US passport.

Another consideration is how long you may stay in the country you are visiting if you are not a citizen of that country. Many places limit the length of stay, and visa requirements for visitation vary depending on where you are going. In general, though, you should always be sure you have your US passport, with validity of at least six months past your date of travel. For more information on specific countries, the State Department's Consular Information Programme informs the public of conditions abroad that may affect their travel, safety and security. Country-Specific information, travel alerts, and travel advisories are vital parts of this programme, as are requirements for visas and passport validity.

Country-Specific Information is available for every country of the world. You will find the location of the US embassy and any consular offices, information about whether you need a visa, crime and security information, health and medical considerations, drug penalties, localised hot spots, and more. This is a good place to start learning about where you are going and can be reached at

Q: What if I am a legal permanent resident?

A: Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) are not US citizens, and while you have rights allowing travel to and from the United States, you are expected to live primarily in the United States. In brief, however, a LPR who resides outside of the United States for more than 365 days will lose their status, unless they have received a re-entry permit prior to leaving the United States or can demonstrate to the satisfaction of a consular officer that the absence was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond their control. If you would like detailed information you can go to

For safety and security reasons, the US Embassy asks that all individuals arrive at the embassy no more than 15 minutes before their designated appointment time.

You can find more information on our website, or by visiting Keep on top of embassy news on our Facebook page, and by following @USEmbassyJA on Twitter. We also answer general visa questions on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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